Virologist Norbert Nowotny: Widespread vaccination against monkeypox not necessary

According to virologist Norbert Nowotny, education is more important than widespread vaccination against monkeypox. This is sufficient for contact persons. However, he also expects that more cases will occur in Europe in the future and warns of the more aggressive Central African strain of the virus.

Italy starts a vaccination campaign against monkeypox in the general population. In the PULS 24 interview, virologist Norbert Nowotny is convinced that this is not necessary in Austria. “because 95 percent of all infections affect homosexual men with frequently changing sexual partners”. Targeted education for this group is much more important than vaccinating more widely. If that succeeds, it would be completely sufficient to vaccinate contact persons of sick people, as is currently being done. Austria has the vaccine for this.

Three weeks from infection to outbreak

“The small problem with monkeypox is that the incubation period, the time from infection to the onset of the disease, can be up to three weeks.” An infected person must therefore remember three weeks back and name their contact persons. “If you vaccinate these people in time, that should be enough.” However, Nowotny fears that the enlightenment might not be effective enough.

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Still too little vaccine worldwide

Those who have received the classic smallpox vaccination are 85 percent protected, are either not infected at all or have a very weak course. The vaccination that is now available also protects very well, but there is not enough vaccine worldwide. “Therefore, the vaccine should be used for those who need it,” says the virologist.

Central African tribe significantly more aggressive

Nowotny is certain that we will also see more cases of monkeypox in our country in the future, because more human cases are also occurring in the endemic areas in Africa. Monkeypox was not actually a sexually transmitted disease before, but it has now become one. “We have the West African tribe here,” explains Nowotny. That’s fortunate, because the death rate is only a maximum of one percent, while the Central African virus strain is significantly more aggressive.

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